Basic Audio Editing Using Audacity

One necessary skill in the creation of Digital Narratives about the past is the ability to record and manipulate audio.  A number of programs for accomplishing this task are available.  For our class we will be using Audacity, a free program that operates on both Windows and iOS operating systems.

Once you have installed Audacity, open the program and begin to record and edit your audio based on your script.  The controls are incredibly user-friendly and self-explanatory.

Tips for Recording Audio

  • Make sure you are in a quiet room and that your computer’s DVD/CDR drive is not active when you record to avoid background noise.
  • Read and record your script once from end to end to see how long it is.  This doesn’t need to be a perfect reading at this point since you are just gauging the amount of time you need to convey what you’ve written.  If it exceeds the 3 minute maximum allowed for the project, you will need to cut out some of your content or gain greater concision.
  • Make sure you speak slowly.  Video narration is almost always delivered at a slower pace than conversational speech, or even than a paper read orally.
  • When you record your script, break it into several separate recordings (5 to 6).  It is unlikely you will be able to get through the script in a single run and this allows you to record manageable pieces.
  • Make sure to finalize your audio by using the Export rather than the Save function and save it in your work file for the project.

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